September 10, 1949 – August 20, 2008
I can't tell you the first time I met Stephanie Tubbs Jones; she always seemed to be part of the political culture in Cleveland. I do remember when she stood up with Senator Barbara Boxer to object to Ohio's 20 electoral votes from the 2004 election. This marked the second time in US history that Congress objected to a presidential election. (The first time was over the 1876 contest between Ruther"fraud" Hayes and Sam Tilden.) On January 6, 2005, 32 members of Congress repeated this phrase:
"We reject the counting of the electoral votes from the state of Ohio on the grounds that they are not under all of the known circumstances regularly given."
In this video interview with Free Press editor Bob Fitrakis, Mrs. Jones discusses the process behind her decision to lead this historic stand. Some of her colleagues warned her that to do so would cost her funding and votes on projects she was pursuing for her constituents. But the significance of the issue convinced her otherwise.
"What we're talking about has deeper ramifications than any one or two million dollar project that I might get funded."
Michael Moore maintains videos from that historic day, when 32 out of 535 Members of Congress (6%) stood up for honest elections, and provides this transcript of the initial moments of that proceeding:
Representative Bob Ney, Ohio (later to be convicted of felonies): Mr. President, the certificate of the electoral vote of the well-known and great State of Ohio seems to be regular in form and authentic, and it appears therefrom that George W. Bush of the State of Texas received 20 votes for President and Dick Cheney from the State of Wyoming received 20 votes for Vice President.
Dick Cheney (soon to be convicted for war crimes, we hope): For what purpose does the gentlewoman from Ohio rise?
Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Ohio (a voter's hero): Mr. Vice President, I seek to object to the electoral votes of the State of Ohio on the ground that they were not, under all of the known circumstances, regularly given and have a signed objection, and I do have a Senator.
Cheney: Has the Senator signed the objection?
Jones: The Senator has signed the objection.
Cheney: An objection presented in writing and signed by both a Representative and a Senator complies with the law, Chapter 1 of Title 3, United States Code. The Clerk will report the objection.
Clerk: "We, a Member of the House of Representatives and a United States Senator, object to the counting of the electoral votes of the State of Ohio on the ground that they were not, under all of the known circumstances, regularly given. Signed Stephanie Tubbs Jones, State of Ohio, Barbara Boxer, State of California."
Cheney: The two Houses will withdraw from joint session. Each House will deliberate separately on the pending objection and report its decision back to the joint session. The Senate will now retire to its Chamber.
Here's the list of those Members of Congress (all Democrats) who, according to the January 6, 2005 Congressional Record, objected to Ohio's 2004 electoral votes:
Stephanie Tubbs Jones, OH (introduced the objection),
Senator Barbara Boxer, CA (sole Senator to stand with voters), and:
|Corrine Brown, FL||Alcee Hastings, FL||Cynthia McKinney, GA|
|Julia Carson, IN||Maurice Hinchey, NY||John Olver, MA|
|William Clay Jr., MO||Jesse Jackson Jr, IL||Major Owens, NY|
|James E. Clyburn, SC||Sheila Jackson Lee, TX||Frank Pallone, Jr., NJ|
|John Conyers Jr., MI||Eddie Bernice Johnson, TX||Donald M. Payne, NJ|
|Danny Davis, IL||Carolyn Kilpatrick, MI||Jan Schakowsky, IL|
|Lane Evans, IL||Dennis Kucinich, OH||Bennie Thompson, MS|
|Sam Farr, CA||Barbara Lee, CA||Maxine Waters, CA|
|Bob Filner, CA||John Lewis, GA||Diane Watson, CA|
|Raul Grijalva, AZ||Edward Markey, MA||Lynn Woolsey, CA|
In 2006, I sat in an open Cuyahoga County Board of Elections hearing, where about 80 members of the public watched as some questioned the use of Diebold's computerized voting systems. A Diebold representative spoke in glowing terms of its products that the scientific community has wholly condemned. Stephanie Tubbs Jones also spoke that day, and expressed her frank disbelief in the comments made by Board leaders Michael Vu and Bob Bennett (both were later fired).
The struggle for honest elections in the United States suffers tremendously with the loss of Stephanie Tubbs Jones, who showed America what it means to represent the people.